kitchen hearing loss

Hints for the Cook with Hearing Loss

For those of you who are new to hearing loss – welcome! Not that we’re happy you have hearing problems, but you’ve joined an unofficial and very large club of like-minded, or should I say like-hearing, people.

One thing that you have may have found to be a challenge with your hearing loss, is the kitchen and cooking. I’ve pulled together a few hints that might help. Or, they might not – you never know with hearing loss. I have had many decades of kitchen catastrophes, so I know what I’m talking about!

Some of the frustrations all cooks with hearing loss face:

  • Not hearing food fall on the floor (it’s such a soft sound) and only discovering it when you step in or on it.
  • Not hearing the dingety-dinger of the oven or microwave, because you’ve left the kitchen for “just a moment”.
  • Not hearing water come to a boil while you’re sitting at the kitchen table with your back to the stove. Those spillovers are such a mess to clean!
  • Not hearing the sound your fridge makes if the door has been left slightly ajar for a while. (I just recently discovered this sound happens – who knew? )
  • You’re in the kitchen preparing dinner for family or guests, who are in the other room relaxing with a drink and an appie. They persist in talking to you and you have to go to them each time because you can’t understand speech through walls.

If I may suggest a few tips to that may help prevent such frustrations and time-wasting:

  • Never, EVER, leave the kitchen if there’s ANY chance that something is going to “be done” or spill over in the very near future. When you leave the kitchen, you get caught up with other stuff, and then it’s, “Oh DARN! The eggs!” Just stay in the kitchen until everything’s ready – you can pass the time by watching a small TV on the counter with closed captioning.
  • If you must leave – if you have children, let’s say, that need seeing to – consider investing in one of those timer-thingies on your wrist that will vibrate and tell you to GET BACK TO THE KITCHEN!
  • Keep a constant eye out to the floor, to see if anything has escaped your hearing and made a little ka-ka down there where you can slip on it.
  • I don’t know what to tell you about the fridge door problem; just close it, OK?
  • For the ‘talking from another room’ problem, consider investing in a complete home renovation; not only will it make you feel good (when it’s done, that is), it will give you good sight lines of your children and guests at all times. If a reno is too rich for your budget, let everyone know that if they want your attention or to have a chat, tell them to come to you, say what they have to say and then get the heck out! You’re busy keeping your eye on the stove and the floor.
  • An extra tip: If you’re getting warm and your hearing aid is steaming up in your ear, don’t take it out and lay on the counter. The last woman I heard of who did that, baked her hearing aid in an apple pie at 350 degrees for an hour. If you must take it out, put in a safe receptacle.

Above all, enjoy!

About Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, speaker and advocate on hearing loss issues. In addition to her weekly blog for HearingHealthMatters.org, which has an international following, Gael wrote the acclaimed book "The Way I Hear It: A Life with Hearing Loss". She is regularly invited to present her uniquely humorous and insightful work to appreciative audiences around the world. Gael has received many awards for her work, which includes advocacy for a more inclusive society for people with hearing loss. She lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

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